Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Informative book on 'tweens...

Parents—Are You Dealing with Terrible 'Tweens?
Parenting author and father Paul Pettit gives parents the must-have tools to survive the tween years.

(Rockwall, TX) Dads play a central role in the lives of their children—especially when children enter the “tween years (typically ages 8–12). Trying to understand what half-child, half-teen sons and daughters are going through can be exasperating, but Scripture has specific instructions for fathers: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 NIV). This can be a demanding position, but author, expert, and five-time dad Paul Pettit has tips for fathers on the essentials for survival. His book Congratulations, You’ve Got Tweens! offers encouragement and help for parents who are trying to find their way through this sensitive time in their child’s life.

There may be fathers who are at a loss as to how to establish good relationships with their tweens. Congratulations, You’ve Got Tweens! has all the information Dad needs to navigate these rocky waters of tween-dome. For more information or to purchase a copy of this book, visit

On any given day, Paul receives a plethora of questions from parents of tweens, asking many questions about how to deal with issues like cell phones, parties, obedience, movies, spirituality, bullying, group activities, allowances, and much more. Recently, we at Kregel asked Paul to answer three of the most common questions he receives, in order to help all parents understand the needs of their tween a bit better, and this is what he had to say:

  • Q: Should we make our children go to youth activities at the church, or allow them to choose on their own whether or not they want to attend?
  • A: Parents should require their own children to attend, at the very least, a normative “worship” service with the family. As long as the children live with the parents and are fully supported by the parents, this is a minimal requirement. However, whether or not the children choose to attend additional church activities is best decided upon by the children themselves. Children who attend a faith-based event, under parental compulsion, are usually no fun to be around and are generally not open to the teaching or activities being offered.

  • Q: When should I expect my child to “obey” without questions, and when should I start discussing things with my kids and allowing them to “bargain” or make some of their own choices?
  • A: Children should be allowed greater amounts of freedom as they display increasing amounts of responsibility. In other words, if a child is not making his own bed, or cleaning his own room, he should not be allowed the freedoms of sleepovers with friends or “bargaining” for an increase in allowance. Increasing levels of freedom and adult types of prerogatives should arrive with increasingly adult-types of behaviors and choices being displayed by the child. The Bible says, “to whom much is given, from him much will be required" (Luke 12:48 NKJV).

  • Q: How do I discourage “bullying” at home or in our neighborhood? How can I teach my child to handle bullies and when do I step in?
  • A: No child should ever be allowed to physically push, hit, or intimidate another. If and when this happens, a responsible person in authority should be notified immediately. All schools, sports teams, and places of worship should practice a "zero tolerance" policy in this regard. When emotional or verbal abuse is recognized, a parent, teacher or other authority figure should call for a meeting between the parties where a fair but firm discussion ensues, with the stated goal of finding a way for the abuse to end. A child displaying abusive patterns needs professional help. Family researchers have demonstrated that this dysfunctional behavior is a cry for help and that anger and/or depression is normally underlying and prompting the acting out.
Dr. Paul Pettit (D.Min., Dallas Theological Seminary) is the president and founder of Dynamic Dads, an organization offering encouragement to fathers. A former sportscaster and youth pastor, he currently serves at Dallas Seminary as director of spiritual formation. Paul enjoys theology, golf, Kansas University basketball, and Texas barbecue.